Of a total population of 200,000, almost a quarter of the rural town's residents have Jan. 1 registered as their date of birth on official birth certificates.
Speaking in an interview with Anatolia, the director of the Siverek Vital Statistics Office, Güler Akbulut, revealed that the reason for this phenomenon can be traced back to years gone by when many couples would start living together having carried out only the religious part of the wedding ceremony, completing the civil ceremony later on.
Consequently, such couples could only officially record the births of their children following the legally recognized civil marriage ceremony, which may have taken place years after the initial, religiously binding service. Akbulut explained that many couples who could not remember the exact birth dates of their children would simply note down Jan. 1 of the year the child was born when the time came to record them officially.
Akbulut added that although this phenomenon has decreased notably in recent years, Siverek still has an abnormally high number of citizens recorded as having been born on the first day of the first month of the year.
Siverek district governor Mahmut Hersanlıoğlu said that as the levels of literacy and education increased in the area and a growing number of people started to complete both wedding ceremonies at the same time, it became more common for families to record the births of their children as soon as they were born. Hersanlıoğlu noted that most of the residents with birthdays on Jan. 1 are from older generations and suggested that “this phenomenon is something of the past now.”